Despite living so close, I very rarely spend the entire weekend in London – it’s usually a day (or consecutive days, at best). So for this reason, staying overnight in the capital feels quite exciting and I always try and make the most of the time. Not having to catch the last train home (which invariably, I always come close to missing) means you can relax somewhat and see London in all its illuminated glory.
A couple of weeks back now (fireworks night weekend), the opportunity arose to stay at the newly opened (and by newly opened – I mean a day old) Amba Hotels Marble Arch, just a stones throw from all the action of Oxford Street – and a short walking distance from the offices I was working at all week. A vast hotel, with 700 rooms, the new Amba branch offers all the luxury amenities you’d expect from a London hotel, without the absolutely extortionate price tag.
With a clean, fresh and bright feel throughout, the hotel is minimalist (with tiny check in pods rather than an expansive reception desk) but well thought out. As you enter through the revolving doors, you are immediately greeted by a large illuminated escalator which leads you through to the check-in area, where staff are ready and waiting to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
Usually I feel a bit uncomfortable being waited on (and I like to carry my bags everywhere with me) but the staff do their utmost to make you feel at home and at ease, from smiling and saying ‘hello’ in the corridors, to taking you through all the nearby things to do when checking in. They’ll even ring to double check that everything is okay with your room before you unpack. A small, but appreciated gesture.
Our room for the night was surprisingly large for London standards (usually the same price will grant you a shoebox for the night) and decorated impeccably. The vast windows (which took up an entire wall) look out onto the best shopping street ever (great if you’re planning where you’re heading first in the morning) and each room is kitted out with an iPad to order room service and drinks. There’s even a complimentary mini bar with soft drinks, snacks and water at your disposal. Clearly, they’ve thought of everything.
Keen to make the most of our time in London, we unpacked and headed out for our dinner reservation at The Drift, situated at the bottom of the Heron Tower. With fireworks set to start at 8/9pm, we gave ourselves plenty of time to eat – and planned to head to the top for drinks once they started. A full review of The Drift will be going up very soon (on the 14th December) if you fancy visiting yourself, however we really enjoyed our time there (despite a slightly disappointing main course for me) and would head back on another occasion.
After dinner, we took the lift to the 40th floor (or 45th – I can’t quite remember) for the Duck & Waffle bar and ordered two very extortionately priced drinks. We wiled away the rest of the evening admiring London’s skyline, which I think you’ll have to agree – was exceptionally photogenic on this occasion specifically.
My attire for the evening was very autumnal (although I slightly regretted the bare legs as the evening drew colder) featuring this burgundy Jane Norman cut-out dress (they have some fab stuff at the moment – they’ve really revamped their look) and these Boden boots.
My hair was a complete mess (please excuse this) as I had battled the bitterly cold wind all day – before cleverly forgetting to pack a hairbrush. But we did make the most of the amazing fifth floor lobby to take these pictures!
After a peaceful nights sleep in the comfiest bed ever (always a concern with a hotel you haven’t stayed in before, but nothing to worry about here) we headed down for breakfast, expecting the usual slightly sad looking buffet and cereal selection. Instead, we were greeted by an extensive amount of choice – porridge, pancakes, cooked breakfast, pastries, juices and fruit.
Although we weren’t early by any means, everything was regularly topped up and staff were at hand to make sure you had everything you could want. I was feeling slightly delicate (apparently the extortionate price of the drinks didn’t stop me enjoying them) so headed straight for the toast, hash browns and beans – which I proceeded to eat two helpings of, before feeling much better.
With our suitcases packed, we headed down the stairs, out into the lobby and said goodbye to our lovely home for the night – a quiet and relaxing place in among the hustle and bustle of Central London – and vowed to return again soon.
Bryanston Street, London W1H 7EH
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